The Spontuneous Story -
The Road to #1 Board Game on Amazon
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Spontuneous is now found in thousands of homes, providing students, adults, children, and families a fun and hilarious way to stay up late, laugh a lot, and build deeper bonds with new friends and old. But the creation of Spontuneous wasn’t always fun and games—it’s been an adventure of learning to overcome obstacles, cultivate momentum, and finding a way to laugh a bit at life, even when things don’t seem so funny.
- Ain't no mountain high enough
- Ain't no valley low enough
- Ain't no river wide enough
- To keep me from getting to you babe…
Spontuneous comes from meager beginnings, packed with free-spirited potential. In 2009, Spontuneous founder, Rob Ridgeway, was in conversation with his step-sister when she mentioned taking a trip to the mountains. Immediately, a friend spontaneously burst into the tune, “Ain’t no mountain high enough!” Everyone laughed at how often people hear a word and a song pops into their head. Rob exclaimed, “That would make an awesome board game!”
Spontuneous was born—a game based on word-association, quick-thinking, and beautiful song (even when sung hilariously out-of-tune amongst friends!).
How does one take an idea and actually ground it into reality? How do thoughts become things? How can you move forward with success when so many people are calling you crazy? The Spontuneous journey began with pure willpower and grit, against all odds. A crazy idea led to the opening of a mall kiosk in Billings, MT for Christmas of 2010. People loved Spontuneous and word-of-mouth made it an instant local hit. This early success resulted in another mall kiosk the following year in Orem, UT.
- Dream on
- Dream on
- Dream on
- Dream until your dreams come true
Rave reviews continued to come in: “Our children love this,” “Our family has become more playful,” “Our entire dorm plays this on the weekends,” “I’ve never been so happy to have an excuse to sing without worrying what others with think!” Within 3 years, Spontuneous was in over 800 retail stores nationwide, but Rob will tell you, that early success was hard-earned.
It’s the Eye of the Tiger, It’s the Thrill of the Fight
Sometimes we can want something, but life needs to find out how strong our desire really is. That was the scenario Rob found himself in after having some initial local success with Spontuneous. There was so much demand and interest, but scaling a company can be difficult, and Rob found himself with several hundred thousand dollars in debt, tapped out on credit, and had exhausted all options for additional financing. Was his dream worth the effort?
With thousands of dollars in monthly interest payments due, he had two Matrix-style options:
1) Take the Blue Pill: quit, file for bankruptcy, give up his dream, & go back to the “real world” or
2) Take the Red Pill: pull himself up by the bootstraps and do the impossible.
- It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight
- Risin' up to the challenge of our rival
- And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
- And he's watchin' us all with the eye of the tiger...
Have you ever had an unwavering belief in yourself and your idea? It’s rare, but when you find yourself aligned in that way, it’s worth it to charge forward into the unknown. Rob had that unwavering belief and a burning desire to succeed. He chose Option 2. He took the Red Pill.
Rob needed money to fulfill all of the orders coming in and keep the Spontuneous enthusiasm alive. To float the retail product costs, he took his MBA to the streets of Austin, TX and started pedicabbing as a side gig to keep his business afloat.
When things got tough, Rob kept going. People started to take note. Stellar reviews for the fun Spontuneous was creating on college campuses, youth-group meetups, and after-school programs kept coming in. This positive feedback fueled Rob. Things were looking decent toward the end of his first year of pedicabbing as Rob headed into the 2014 Christmas season. Then, unexpectedly, union truck drivers at the Port of L.A. went on strike, leaving new inventory stranded on ships. The games he had in stock from the previous year sold out immediately on Black Friday, but with the rest of his inventory held at Port, Rob missed the entire Christmas season. The Christmas season which accounted for 85% of his sales. It crushed him.
I Don't Have to Let the Damage Consume Me
There was no option left but to pedicab another year until the next Christmas season. At that time, Rob started developing some odd symptoms, and was soon diagnosed with a brain tumor. On March 10th, 2015, doctors removed a golf ball sized tumor. Fortunately, it was benign. Unfortunately, despite approval for the surgery, his insurance company denied it once removed, based on “lack of medical necessity.” It left him with over $70,000 in medical bills.
Rob started dog sitting to make ends meet, until he was given the green light to pedicab again for the 2nd half of 2015. Hard work pays off. That Christmas, Spontuneous became the 19th best-selling board game on Amazon! Enthusiasm kept growing. In 2016, he was fortunate enough to tour with the rock band, Blue October, and with lead-singer, Justin Furstenfeld’s kind endorsement, Spontuneous shot to the #2 bestseller on Amazon
I don't have to fall apart
I don't have to be afraid
I don't have to let the damage consume me
My shadows see through me
—Blue October, Fear
Touring with Blue October inspired Rob to go on his own tour. Rob wanted to showcase that it was worth going for your dreams. He wanted to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone and take action. With that goal in mind, he bought a truck and an RV, wrapped it with Spontuneous branding, and embraced the RV life. He traveled around the country full-time for a year with his dog, Dottie, to promote the game at concerts, music festivals, and give inspirational speeches along the way.In 2017, Spontuneous became the #1 best-selling board game on Amazon.
Don’t Stop Believing!
Countless people told Rob he was crazy when he first thought up Spontuneous. They said that he would never succeed. When Rob started this journey in 2009, his own father said that it was the dumbest idea he’d ever heard of, that nobody played board games anymore, and that it would never work.
- Don't stop believing
- Hold on to that feeling
To showcase his triumph over those who tried to stand in his way and the challenges he overcame throughout his journey, Rob named his RV adventure the #MicDropTour. People will tell you your dreams aren’t possible, but they are wrong. Don’t stop believing!
Today, Rob lives in Nashville, TN, where he promotes Spontuneous. He has become a major donor to Music Health Alliance, giving 2% of gross proceeds to an organization that could have been his advocate during his personal health scare, had he known about them. After all, if it weren’t for musicians, there would be no Spontuneous.
Spontuneous is a fun way to break the ice with new acquaintances or buckle over in laughter with old friends and family. Pick a word, find a song, sing it proudly. Order your game set, today!